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Trash Can Liners 101


Trash can liners have made solid refuse disposal a much less disgusting prospect. While some trash cans, based on their construction or room placement, may seem like they could go without a can liner, you may come to regret the decision not to put one in there when someone drops in an ice cream cone or a bowl of chili. Whether you are considering buying can liners for a residence, and office building or a retail space, there are some guidelines to follow when picking out the right kind for you.

The first and most important aspect to consider is the size of the trash can or cans that need to be lined. Trash can liners come in a variety of sizes to accommodate various sized cans and buying one that is too small will likely end in a big mess when it falls down inside the can, splattering its contents all over the walls. Most indoor trash cans will take the normal kitchen sized liner nicely with some exceptions. Most large outdoor cans will use a thirty gallon can liner, although if your family or business produces a great deal of waste you may opt to go to the larger 39 gallon bag for easier handling. If you are unsure of the size requirements trash cans usually have their volume (in gallons) printed on the bottom or interior facings. When in doubt, go larger, as you can always just fold the can liner over around the lip of the can to hide the excess bag space.

The next important factor to consider is the strength of the can liner. Can liner strength is actually a measure of thickness often called the gauge of the plastic, and in most cases is measured in microns, however most liners are now advertised as one of four strength ratings: light, medium, heavy, and extra heavy. If dealing with most everyday garbage such as discarded packaging and other dry waste light bags are fine. If your household produces a more sloppy wet brand of garbage, you will probably need to use medium strength garbage bags. Heavy bags are best for bulky, heavy or dense materials like large quantities of food waste or debris. Extra heavy bags are meant for larger, heavier loads that would tear through lighter bags like construction debris.

One of the most important things to consider about your can liner purchase is the type of seal used to close the bottom of the trash bags. This may seem like a minor, even aesthetic concern, but that is not the case: the seal is actually where all the strength of the bag comes from, and if that seal fails all your garbage is going to fall out. The most inexpensive can liners have what is called a flat seal which is, as its name implies, just a flat line where the bag comes together. These bags are relatively leak resistant but are not necessarily shaped in such a way as to fit snugly inside most trash cans. A gusseted seal bag will conform more naturally to a can's shape, but has a weaker seal at the corner seams. The star or X-shaped seal bag has the strongest seal and conforms nicely to most trash cans, but is also the more expensive choice.

While there are other minor factors to consider, like drawstring handles for easy closure and carriage or perfume scented bags to cover up especially foul odors, these are mainly convenience features. They are often appropriate for households who don't go through trash quite as quickly as a large office building or retail store where those drawstring handles and whiffs of perfume will quickly make the bags very expensive. Can liners should make the job of waste disposal easy but still remain cost effective.